My Ex and Whys, Star Cinema's latest LizQuen vehicle, tells the story of Cali and Gio. Way back when, the two were a couple. But circumstances tore the two apart and they separated. This time, however, the two are paired up thanks to unlikely circumstances and Gio attempts to reconnect with Cali once more. Cali, however, isn't having any of it.
The film, as its central theme, tackles ideas of infidelity, trust and forgiveness. It posits the question, are men, by their very nature, incapable of a monogamous relationship? While it does play with the subject, the film's adherence to formula and generally poor writing negatively impact the final product, stripping it of any nuance.
Instead of making Gio a multifaceted character, whose remorse and actions are important to the story, the script blatantly declares that he should be forgiven, regardless of what Cali thinks about it. Enrique Gil is even backlit in many scenes, giving him an angelic, saintly look. He is surrounded by stereotypes of machismo that do nothing to help his situation. To be fair, I grew up in a similar household, where getting lots of girls was, if at least jokingly, a badge of honor.
While the film could have made Cali's eventual forgiveness of Gio nuanced, letting her naturally arrive at the decision whether to forgive Gio or not, the script removes her agency from the whole thing, loading the movie with tons of characters berating her repeatedly for not forgiving Gio already and being selfish and cold just because she doesn't want to. In more than one way it sounds sexist and insulting to Cali's character. And when Cali does reveal additional details behind her refusal to make up with Gio, which contextualizes her own situation, the film seems to sweep it all under the rug and forget about it. In addition, her childish insistence to prove Gio hasn't changed completely throws the story off kilter, nudging it into bad Wattpad adaptation territory.
I think this unfortunate situation is because of the film's tendency to play it safe and underestimate its audience, preferring to sledgehammer in details rather than ease the audience into it. It prefers to limit itself within its formula, even ending with the most cliche of cliches, a desperate chase through traffic. It's not a particularly bad combination, and to be fair the film will still entertain even casual fans. But as a whole the film is generally unremarkable, and ultimately interchangeable with most of the other films in LizQuen's filmography.
And that's kind of a shame, since the film's other aspects have some really interesting ideas. Near the beginning we are treated to a couple of gorgeous shots; the scene inside the box is particularly inspired, and the film's use of split screens to reflect the characters' thoughts and internal conflict is ambitious. The film splices in and juxtaposes characters inside scenes and the editors make some creative, albeit at times weird scene transitions. Both Soberano and Gil are charming and capable in their roles.
But I've yet to see a film worthy of LizQuen's talents. What they need is something that exists outside formula, something that pushes their acting talents to the limit, while still emphasizing them as a couple. The search continues.